Canines ingest entire bottle of calming chews


While trying to calm their pets' anxiety, 2 pups gave their owners anxiety instead

As we are quickly approaching the 4th of July holiday, many clients will utilize calming chews to help ease pet anxiety during fireworks and other loud, noise-making holiday celebrations. However, instead of calming her pets' anxiety, Jacque Dickson in Greensboro, North Carolina, had her own anxiety spike after her dogs, Elton and Chubbs, helped themselves to more than the recommended amount of calming chews.

"I had just moved to a new apartment, and I ran out to do some grocery shopping. My father had recently bought a bottle of calming chews for Chubbs, who can be anxious. The bottle was in an unopened box, but the dogs managed to get into it and consume the entire bottle of more than 160 chews,” explained Dickson, in an organizational release.1

“My first call was to the pet emergency room and they had me call Pet Poison Helpline before I even left the house." By calling first, the toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline were able to start developing a recommended treatment plan based on Elton and Chubbs' individual situations that could be ready when Dickson arrived at the clinic.”

After providing information about Elton and Chubbs to Pet Poison Helpline, they determined that he was not in danger because he weighs 65 lb and is a fit cattle dog, according to Dickson. However, Elton is only 10 lb, so the team recommended she bring him to the hospital for treatment and observation.

Elton. (Photo courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline)

Elton. (Photo courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline)

Dickson brought Elton to the Carolina Veterinary Specialists where the team was ready to begin treating him. The team at Pet Poison Helpline determined that Elton consumed a dangerous level of tryptophan, which is found in the product. The fear was that he would develop hypernatremia due to the amount he had ingested, potentially causing a fluid shift results in increased sodium concentrations.1 The experts were also concerned Elton would develop serotonin syndrome, which can cause numerous cardiovascular and neurological signs. According to the release,1 the specialists recommended to the Carolina Veterinary Specialist team antiemetic, electrolyte monitoring, intravenous fluids and monitoring for serotonin syndrome.

"The dedicated team at Carolina Veterinary Specialists took great care of Elton," said Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT, DABVT, senior veterinary toxicologist and director of Veterinary Medicine at Pet Poison Helpline.1 "He was closely monitored overnight and went home the next day, where Dickson could monitor both him and Chubbs for any additional symptoms or changes in behavior."

Although the Fourth of July is a time for fun and relaxation, there are a major risk to pets lurking in all the festivities. Fireworks can cause anxiety and fear with pets, party goers coming in and out of houses can let pets out where they can get lost or injured, and alcohol left out can be poisonous to pets to name a few. Pet Poison Helpline shared in this Toxin Tail that they have partnered with AKC Reunite, a not-for-profit pet recovery service to offer 24/7 toxicology expertise as an optional and unlimited benefit for its members.

"Enjoy the July 4th festivities with your family and friends, but don't forget about your furry loved ones," expressed Schmid. "Taking a few precautions can help protect your pet from a variety of dangers."

All the subjects featured in Toxin Tails have been successfully treated and fully recovered from the poisoning, including Chubbs and Elton.


Pet calming chews result in human panic. News release. Pet Poison Helpline. July 2, 2024. Accessed July 3, 2024.

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